The Jewish Week is always here for you.
We need your support now.
Your contribution will help us bring you vital news
and frequent updates about the impact of COVID-19.
Rabbis’ Posse Closing In On Avi Weiss

Rabbis’ Posse Closing In On Avi Weiss

Associate Editor

The RCA doesn’t like the way Avi has been spinning things, he’s been talking too loudly and defiantly, saying that he came away with a victory – about anything. So now the word “maharat” has to go, not just “rabba.” Both the RCA and Agudah are in agreement that Hebrew Institute itself will now have to decide if it is Orthodox or not. This is no longer about Avi alone.


25 Adar 5770
March 11, 2010

Upon consultation with its rabbinic leadership, Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement…:
Hamodia reports that Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, First Vice-President of the Rabbinical Council of America, has clarified that the RCA “in no way endorses the title ‘maharat’ or the ‘maharat’ program under the direction of Rabbi Avi Weiss.”
Rabbi Goldin further quotes RCA President Rabbi Moshe Kletenik as having stated that ordination of women “is a breach of our mesorah and is unacceptable practice in Orthodoxy,” and that “it is also unacceptable for an Orthodox synagogue to have a woman on its rabbinical staff.”

Agudath Israel warmly welcomes the clarification and commends the RCA leaders for their forthright and principled words.

May we all continue to stand guard to protect the integrity of our mesorah.

Meanwhile Ben Greenberg (whose Avi Weiss Yeshivat Chovivei Torah ordination isn’t good enough to get him admitted into the RCA) had this to say:

Jonathan Mark, in a news article in The New York Jewish Week, states that the Rabbinical Council of America is set to “come down hard” on Rabbi Avi Weiss “perhaps” even expel him from the rabbinic body for his decision to grant rabbinic ordination to Rabbah Sara Hurwitz ….. without evidence…. The proper course of action for The Jewish Week is to retract this so-called “news” article immediately and publish an apology.”

Hey, Ben, how much more evidence do you want? If Avi’s shul isn’t Orthodox according to the RCA and Agudah. and it won’t be Orthodox if he won’t retreat on this, do you think for a minute he’d still be an RCA rabbi in good standing? Who’d consider him Orthodox at that point, you and who else? Regarding my initial RCA vs. Avi story – a story that the YCT guys have been saying for weeks that I simply invented – the pressure on Avi and the blizzard of anti-Avi quotes are sure piling up high and fast, aren’t they?

The reason the YCT guys like Ben Greenberg want this story to go away is very simple. They have next to no Orthodox cred as is, and if their yeshiva leader, Avi, loses what’s left of his cred, that leaves Ben Greenberg with even less (if it’s possible) rabbinic credentials than he has now, doesn’t it? As far as the RCA and Agudah are concerned, he won’t even be Rabba Ben Greenberg.

As one can see at this link to RCA eligibility, no one ordained privately by Avi Weiss or institutionally by his yeshiva, YCT, is eligible by virtue of that ordination to join the RCA, the largest and most important Modern-Centrist rabbinic group in the United States. (Agudah, in contrast to the RCA, is not a rabbinic group but an Orthodox umbrella organization with individual memberships. By and large, Agudah thinks even less of Avi and his yeshiva than does the RCA.) The only way a YCT-Weiss student can hope to join the RCA is to study for an entirely separate ordaination by an RCA approved rabbi or yeshiva, as if the student had never studied with Avi or YCT at all. It would be as if the YCT student was ordained by the Conservative’s Jewish Theological Seminary or Reform’s Hebrew Union and wanted to join the RCA; the student would need an accredited Orthodox ordination, the previous ordination being worthless. While Avi Weiss is still hanging on as a member of the RCA, such is his status and his yeshiva’s status within the organization. That is not my opinion. That is an RCA fact.

If I was supposed to apologize a month ago for this story, as YCT’s Dov Linzer and Ben Greenberg were insisting, when do I get an apology from Clergymen Linzer and Greenberg, now that their Avi-RCA denials are blowing up in their faces like a cheap trick cigar?

read more: